A bumper sticker that reads "Look out for motorcycles" has the right message, but a sticker alone won't save lives. The best way to keep from becoming the victim of a motorcycle wreck can be summed up in one simple word- defense!

Below are a few defensive driving tips that can help keep you and your loved ones safe on the road.

Assume you are invisible.

It's sad but true- Most motorcycle accidents occur because of another driver's failure to see the rider. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the best advice experienced motorcyclists have for new riders is to assume that nearby drivers cannot see them and to ride accordingly.

Keep your distance from nearby drivers. Stay away from their blind spots. Wear bright colors or reflective gear. Use your headlights at night and during inclement weather.

Watch out for left turners.

Vehicles turning left in front of a motorcycle (many are not aware of an approaching motorcycle) are one of the top causes of motorcycle crashes in Maryland. Be on the lookout, especially at partially obstructed intersections.


An upcoming red light or a nearby car flashing its blinker can indicate what the driver near you is about to do. Anticipate their moves and react accordingly to give them plenty of room. This will help you avoid a crash even if the other driver doesn't see you.

Maintain a safe distance.

Tailgating is particularly dangerous on a motorcycle. Keep your distance so you have enough stopping time should the vehicle in front of you suddenly slam on the brakes.

Watch the road.

Road hazards are more dangerous to motorcyclists than other drivers. Look out for potholes, manholes, railroad tracks, and other changes in the road's surface. Use extreme caution when riding in rainy, windy, or icy conditions.

Wear a helmet.

Not only is it the law; it also makes sense. Most motorcycle fatalities are due to severe brain damage, which can be greatly reduced by - you guessed it - wearing a helmet. Find the helmet that's right for you.